New York City Ballet: Episodes, Tribute, Vienna Waltzes
-Onstage with the Dancers
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New York City Ballet
(NYC Ballet Website)
Tribute to Kirstein
Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Marketing and Communications, Managing Director, Robert Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Manager, Press Relations, Joe Guttridge
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 31, 2007
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Conductor, Fayçal Karoui
Episodes (1959): Music from the orchestral works of Anton von Webern, Choreography by George Balanchine, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Abi Stafford, Edwaard Liang, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Wendy Whelan, Albert Evans, Maria Kowroski, Charles Askegard, and the Company. Balanchine was enthusiastic about Webern's music, which he felt left "the mind free to 'see' the dancing". Martha Graham Originally choreographed for Balanchine "Episodes I", danced by her Company and four NYCB dancers, but this section has not been presented since 1960. (NYCB Notes).
It was good to see Ask la Cour dancing again, especially with the magnetic Teresa Reichlen, in Five Pieces, Opus 10, as they are paired so perfectly, tall, lanky, and full of attitude. Mr. la Cour has that princely presence that should reward him many future roles, but, meanwhile, this atonal von Webern score intensified his showcased skills. Abi Stafford and Edwaard Liang, leading Symphony, Opus 21, although less commanding, brought intensity and stark angularity to the work. Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans, leading Concerto, Opus 24, were mesmerizing, with Ms. Whelan glowing in the liveliness of Mr. Evans' impassioned partnering. Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard stylistically led Ricercata in six voices from Bach's "Musical Offering" with a fourteen female ensemble.
Tribute (2007): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Choreography by Christopher d'Amboise, Costumes by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Susan Walters, Performed by Devin Alberda, Tiler Peck, Robert Fairchild, Megan LeCrone, Gretchen Smith, Tyler Angle, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Ashley Bouder, Marika Anderson, Likolani Brown, Lauren King, Kathryn Morgan, Georgina Pazcoguin, Rachel Piskin, Brittany Pollack, and Mary Elizabeth Sell.
Choreographer Christopher d'Amboise, a former New York City Ballet dancer, son of choreographer, Jacques d'Amboise, and brother of Broadway dancer, Charlotte d'Amboise, created this tribute to Lincoln Kirstein, as well as to Balanchine, for a School of American Ballet Workshop. Now in the City Ballet repertoire, with Devin Alberda, a new corps member (he danced this lead at SAB in 2005), leading the opening solo, the eight part ballet should be seen each season. In fact, Mr. Alberda should continue to own the solo lead, as his lyrical, lithe interpretation was well appreciated by today's audience.
With Susan Walters on piano for Bach's elegant score, the ensemble performed in groupings of two to ten, with Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild, in Allegro, most noteworthy, as Ms. Peck steals the show. She shines from within like a Rembrandt, ever so sharp, ever so sprightly. So, too, were Ashley Bouder and Tyler Angle, in Pas de Deux, noteworthy, again, for the female role, as Ms. Bouder is so fully poised, presented, balanced, and buoyant. The Duo-Gentlemen segment was led by Mr. Alberda and Adrian Danchig-Waring, and they made a strong, soaring team.
Vienna Waltzes (1977): Music by Johann Strauss II/Franz Lehár/Richard Strauss, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Costumes by Karinska, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Rachel Rutherford, Nikolaj Hübbe, Miranda Weese, Benjamin Millepied, Sterling Hyltin, Adam Hendrickson, Jenifer Ringer, Nilas Martins, Kyra Nichols, Philip Neal, and the Company. These costumes are the last that Karinska had created for NYC Ballet. She had designed costumes for much of the 20th Century, for ballet, Broadway, and opera, having fled Russia, and she collaborated with Balanchine as City Ballet's principal costume-maker. (NYCB Notes).
One of the most popular ballets in City Ballet repertoire, Vienna Waltzes brings handsome soldiers to dance in the forest and dashing gentlemen to dance in the ballroom, with the forest deeply green and thickly twined, and the ballroom brightly glistening with multiple mirrors. Karinska's costumed pastels and Rouben Ter-Arutunian's palette of nature turn to costumed chiaroscuro and scenic richesse. This richesse was extended to the fine ensemble leads of Rachel Rutherford and Nikolaj Hübbe, followed by Miranda Weese and Benjamin Millepied, all in the embrace of Johann Strauss II. Soon, the bravura, youthful team of Sterling Hyltin and Tom Gold led Explosions Polka in stripes and wig and dizzying spins. Two of my favorites were Jenifer Ringer and Nilas Martins, a frequent pair, in a most elegant pas de deux to Franz Lehar's Gold Und Silber Walzer. Mr. Martins seemed to be truly enjoying every moment.
A high point in a ballet replete with high points happens when the forest rises and the mirrored ballroom with bistro tables, gloved waiters, and etched glass effects seamlessly appears. Tonight's pièce de resistance was Kyra Nichols' brief, but eloquent, dance, attentively partnered by Philip Neal. Ms. Nichols was radiant, and her retirement seems too soon. The other four sets of partners take showcased turns, finally waltzing about with the corps in luxurious abandon. Kudos to Lincoln Kirstein, and kudos to George Balanchine.
Ashley Bouder and Tyler Angle in NYCB's Tribute
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik